(an oldie moved from my other blog)
I had a dream the other night that I was writing and the words were just flowing out of me, as fast as I could type them onto my computer screen. I don’t remember the subject matter, but it was fiction. I woke up feeling really good about this burst of inspiration … you know those first few minutes where you’re not fully awake and you very slowly realize that, sadly, it was a dream, a good dream that’s now over. You want to hold onto that feeling, but unless you can manage to write it down right away, the details slip away quickly.
I’ve been struggling with fiction lately, but truthfully I am a little dry in all areas. I haven’t posted a blog in a while. I’m ok with that and I’m not going to be too hard on myself, bearing in mind that I’ve had a heavier-than-usual workload the last two weeks. But I will not allow it to go on for too much longer.
There have been times in the past where I’ve told myself I was a phony–that I wasn’t a real writer. I hear others say that if you’re a writer it’s in your blood; you simply have to write. What one extrapolates from this, of course, is that if the urge to write is not trumping all other non-essential activities, then one must not have it “in his blood,” and therefore is not a real writer.
I don’t think I can accept this anymore, and one of the reasons why I can’t is that this belief gives me a convenient reason to not write. (“It’s OK if I don’t write because I’m not a real writer anyway…”). No. It’s OK if I don’t write now–for a little while, at least–and I’m still a real writer.
I’ve been in editor mode lately. I mentioned something (I believe I tweeted it on Twitter) about it being difficult to shift gears and write while I’m editing someone else’s work. I think that’s another cop-out. Of course I can shift gears. The real roadblock is that I’m very busy, and sitting down to write makes me feel guilty when I’m on deadline to finish something else. I need to structure my time better (another thing to beat myself up about–terrific!).
If I allow myself to let go, stop thinking about writing and do other things–go to the movies, listen to music or read other people’s writing–these things often simply inspire me. On occasion a little bit of a competitive edge creeps in and I find myself thinking I could write better than someone who, seemingly against all better judgment, has been published. COULD I write better than many of the authors out there? Yes, in many cases. AM I writing better? No.
But mostly, I’m not feeling that competitive and I’m simply seeking inspiration. Watching movies or reading helps joggle my mind. It wakes up my imagination and lets me imagine different people in different scenarios. I was able to write some songs this way, when I was going through a song-writing phase a few years back. Even just going for a walk helps when I’m looking for the words to come.
At times I’m torn between writing and things that seem just as important. While writing feels like a higher, loftier goal somehow, exercising or playing my guitar are also important. I don’t feel right skipping those for too long, either. Then there are evenings when I spend way too much time on the internet and nothing gets done. That kicks in a whole other level of guilt.
Obviously, since I can’t do everything and I can’t be the perfect person I sometimes believe I need to be be, I need to change my attitude about it. I will write fiction again. Soon. I feel it.